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review 2017-02-02 03:03
Except the Dying - A Review

I can’t believe it’s already the first of February and I haven’t posted one review.  In my own defense I got that horrific cold that’s going around – it’s a bad one – so stay healthy everybody.  I still have the tail end of the cough.  Also, every time I fired up the computer I had other things to do on it.  After being downsized out the door at my job at the end of last year I decided that while I have the safety net of unemployment benefits I am going to try to start a small home based business – but more on that later this week.  There are some prizes in the offing so stay tuned.

Sick as I was I was still reading, mostly light stuff that I could digest through my stuffy sinuses.  My BFF has long been a fan of the television series “Murdock Mysteries”.  I finally gave it a look when I was up at strange hours because of my cough and there were reruns on at crazy morning times.  I was pretty quickly hooked because it’s a rather clever series set in turn of the 19th century Toronto.  Of course when I found out that the series was based on books – WELL! – You know I had to pick up the books.  So on to my first review of 2017 …
EXCEPT THE DYING by Maureen Jenkins
In the winter of 1895 Toronto acting Detective William Murdock is called out to a murder scene.  A young woman is found naked in an alleyway.  She is clearly not a lady of the evening and winter in Toronto is not a time anyone would be outside without clothing so obviously, this young woman met with foul play.
William Murdock knows no boundaries when it comes to looking for a killer.  He visits the lowest and highest echelons of society to look for his answers.  And answers he finds through meticulous police work without the availability of all toys and whistles a reader might be used to in more modern police procedurals.
This was Ms. Jennings debut book and it was an interesting read.  It showed some good research into that era of Toronto’s history and the dialogue was excellent.  There were a few slow spots, but I could forgive those.  Having the hindsight of reading a few more in the series before writing this review I can honestly say the books improve with each addition to the series.
The cover of the book is a bit deceptive as it pictures the characters from the television series.  For fans of the series – be forewarned – the book is similar but definitely not the same.  While the show is often humorous and tongue-in-cheek the book is deadly serious (pun intended).  I did particularly enjoy the more in-depth look into Murdock’s life away from the police station.
“Except the Dying” is well worth the read and I’m giving it 3.5 stars because I know the series improves in subsequent books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from the book cover)
Born in England, Maureen Jennings taught English before becoming a psychotherapist.  “Except the Dying” was published in 1977 followed by 6 more books in the series.  Three of her novels were adapted into movies of the week and four years later Shaftesbury films created the Murdock Mysteries television series.
Maureen lives in Toronto with her husband and their two dogs.
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text 2015-10-16 18:23
Game of Thrones fan?

If you are a fan of the television series you might find this amusing.  There are several more on the website.
(I can't seem to figure out how to post a video so that it shows up on the Dashboard.  Sorry :-(  But it does show up on my blog or click the link.)
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text 2015-10-07 21:44
The Pines Trilogy

I've finally got the time (and found the mood) to tackle my backlog of reviews.  Sometimes I just don't feel like sitting down and getting my thoughts onto the screen ... I'd much rather just tuck into the next book. 


I read these three books almost back to back so I thought why not review them together.  I have a few others books waiting to be posted that also share authors, so I may use this idea to get them done and on here too. They do get a little lengthy so pick and choose which to read at your own discretion.

PINES by Blake Crouch
Ethan Burke remembers being sent to Wayward Pines to investigate what happened to his former FBI partner (and ex-lover) who mysteriously disappeared.  He remembers a horrific car accident happened within minutes of crossing the town line.  The next thing he knows he awakens in the Pines hospital without his wallet or cell phone.  He is told he survived the accident but his current partner, traveling with him, was killed.  Frantic to get in touch with his wife and son, his boss or anyone else outside Wayward Pines he soon discovers he can’t … something is very wrong in this little town that seems to have only one road in and no road out.
This book had me hooked from the first page.  As Ethan becomes more and more frantic trying to get to truth behind what is going on in Wayward Pines, the reader follows him step by step.  Ethan’s anxiety and frustration were palpable through the pages.  The writing and the action are quick.  This certainly was a page-turner.
... Because as much as it kept me on the edge of my chair for most of it, there were a few sections that had me scratching my head.  I knew this was not a time travel book and yet some references to time that seemed warped had me confused.  This problem receives a little bit of attention in the conclusion, but I am still left with questions.  All right – expected since it is only Part One of a trilogy.
WAYWARD by Blake Crouch
In this, the second installment of “The Pines” trilogy, we rejoin Ethan Burke.  He has seen the wizard behind the curtain AND the world beyond the electrified fence so he is a little clearer about his situation.  Despite still having apprehensions about the concept of the town he knows that staying there might be the only hope for its residents.  In hopes of somehow making the town a little more bearable for both his family (with whom he is now reunited) and the other residents he has accepted the job of being the new sheriff.  Ethan still does not trust mastermind, David Pilcher – but must firmly believe in the saying “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” – it seems like the only way to save the town.  Ethan definitely has an agenda … the reader is just not too sure what it is.  And, who is this mystery man roaming beyond the fence?
As in the first book Mr. Crouch has given me an (almost) “one sit” read.  Once I started on this book I didn’t want to put it down.  Once again Mr. Crouch has raised my anxiety level with his writing … I was right there with the characters feeling their fear, uncertainty and confusion.
... Because this one ended with a hell of a cliffhanger.  Normally I would be upset with a cliffhanger ending, but this one was just supreme, so I have to give credit where credit is due.  Mr. Crouch definitely left me uttering that “Nooooooo!” when I turned the last page in this book. 
THE LAST TOWN by Blake Crouch
Wayward Pines can no longer be described as Paradise.  It’s gone to hell in a hand basket … no one is safe when the fence comes down and everyone’s worst nightmares are realized.  Ethan is feeling immense guilt because he brought this on, but let’s be honest, it was Pilcher who turned off the electric fence … the destruction of Wayward is on him.  But, why?? 
No more secrets in this conclusion to the Pines trilogy.  Theresa tells Ethan about her life before he came back, the residents see first hand the truth about their little Utopia and “god” seems to have turned into the devil.  The reader is finally given the inside scoop on how the residents of Wayward “arrived” and who exactly the wanderer is.  The trilogy certainly reaches it’s crescendo with this book.
Two little yellow guys on this one only because I have not been so angry about the ending of a series since Mr. King gave me “Ka is a wheel” (Dark Tower series).  I was happily reading along, nodding my head (yup, I could sort of see where this was going), not really paying attention to the actual number of pages left to read.  And then – I turned the last page (cue dramatic music) – I read the last line, and then I read it again, and then I closed the book, and then I opened it again, and then I read the last line again.  Oh, for f*** sakes!  Sorry … was that the sound of the book being thrown onto the floor?
I’ve had time to think about it since then.  Now, don’t get me wrong, my personal reaction has not mellowed any, but I’ll concede MAYBE it was rather brilliant on Mr. Crouch’s part; there can either be another (Dear readers, I apologize for the last book's ending … here you go) book for readers like me who have to know what the author conceives happened or readers can make it up for themselves.
All that being said, it was a good trilogy and I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone wanting to escape to Wayward for a little while.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from his website)

Blake Crouch has sold over a million books and his work has been translated into more than twenty languages. Known for high-concept fiction with breakneck pacing and groundbreaking genre cross-breeding, six of his books have hit the Kindle Top 10, and two have reached the #1 spot. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Alfred Hitchcock, Ellery Queen, Cemetery Dance, and Thriller 2, edited by Clive Cussler.
In 2013, his novel Pines was nominated for ITW's Best Paperback Original Thriller Award, and his Wayward Pines series has been made into a TV series which is currently airing on Fox International Channels, directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Matt Dillon, Juliette Lewis, Melissa Leo and Terrence Howard. He has been featured in Time Magazine, the L.A. Times,The Wall Street Journal, and Entertainment Weekly.
Blake lives in Colorado.
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